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Techniques and Projects
Asheville, North Carolina
Color plate 1 A rosette motif was chosen for this blanket.
Photography: Hans van Ommeren, the Netherlands Design: Karel van Laar, the Netherlands Illustrations: Ger Daniels, the Netherlands Pattern drawings: Hetty Paerl, the Netherlands Color plate 2 and fig. 49 and 50: Tony Lumb, England
Translated from the Dutch by Marianne Wiegman Production, English language edition: Thorn Boswell, Valerie Ward
Introduction 8 I. The History of Felt 8 What is felt? Looking back in the history of felt 8 Living with felt 12
First English language edition published in 1987 by Lark Books, 50 College Street Asheville, North Carolina 28801 English translation @ 1987 by Lark Books 7 0 9 8 7 6 5 4 3
IV. Clothing Vests and coats Children's clothing Hats Boots and slippers Mittens Bags V. Other Applications Marbles, balls, beads, buttons Dolls and mice Felting in a washing machine Freestyle felting and stiffened felt VI. Group Feltmaking Felting a blanket the old nomadic way
Additional Reading Sources of Feltmaking Supplies Credits 60 61 63 68 68
First published in the Netherlands under the title
II. Basic Techniques and Equipment Carding on the drum carder Carding by hand Making a sampler Felting with children Dyeing with steam
14 16 16 21 28 30
Cantecleer bv, de Bilt 1984
All rights reserved.
Ill. Traditional and Modern Techniques and Motifs 32 Felting with cutout shapes 32 . Feltmaking and weaving 33 Changing texture and structure 36 Copying a picture in felt 38
Mixing of fibers and colors Accenting with thread Cutting out designs Applique and embroidery Decorating with sequins and beads Adding fringe to felt 38 38 38 40 41 41
75 84 85 86
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 87-80486
Printed in Hong Kong.
1 For the nomads of our time
During the last two decades there has been a revival of interest in working with felt, the oldest textile form on earth. Or, as one cheerful American remarked: "Felt is the latest hit from the past." Since the seventies, this craft "from the land of feltu* has been popular again. The excavation of ancient felt pieces was exciting news on many fronts. The technique appeared to be of special interest to scientists and museum experts as well as to artists and teachers. The interest was contagious, and very soon people in all parts of the world were making felt again. Why did this happen? There may be many different opinions. My own isthat feltmaking is a craft that suits everyone-young and old, children, men and women of all ages. I hope that by reading, looking and doing, you will become enthusiastic about feltmaking. And that you, like my pupils and I, will discover that felt lends itself to making beautiful, warm and waterproof clothing, toys and household articles, but also to intriguing experiments, to new discoveries and, finally, that you find it to be a very enjoyable activity.
Left This blanket is used as a wall hanging. The fans are of silk, dyed in a multicolor bath. The fan Pattern was incorporated into the second layer from the top. The top layer, of wool, was cut away during the felting process to expose the fans. So the fans could be found again after the top layer was in place, a plastic negative was made from the whole pattern from which the fans were cut. The cords were spun from the samesilk usedfor the fans.
*Felt was so important in the lives of the Mongols and the people in Chinese and Russian Turkistan that dur~ng Middle Ages the whole norththe ern steppe distr~ct was known to the Chinese as "The land of felt."
As this treatment continues the scales hook together and. with the help of moist heat and rubbing but without the use of a binding compound. form a firm. One day. As this treatment continues. then to braid. he stamped up and down on a sheepskin while crying hot tears. and he was standing on felt! Looking Back in the History of Felt From the earliest times. artificial fibers. Afunny anecdote which illustratesthis process is one about the son of King Solomon. . The History of Felt What is Felt? Felt is a non-woven material which is created by the compression of wool. tight material. knot or weave the yarn into fabric. but in 1 The wool fiber is covered with smallscales. Wool is the only fiber endowed by nature with the properties which enable it to be felted. never making perrnanent homes. and animal hair also can be made into felt if mixed with wool. These scales open underpressure and when rubbed with moisture. Since prehistoric times nomads inhabited the area between the Arctic circle and the subtropics. because the wool also shrinks. sheep. felt is created. goats.I. For a long time he pondered the problem of how to make fabric from wool without having to first spin the wool into yarn. and later also with horses. the craft of feltmaking was practiced by nomadic peoples. over the steppe. the scales open. in his frustration. He was a professional shepherd. 1). The way in which wool becomes felt can be observed under a high-powered microscope (fig. When the fibers are subjected to pressure. Plant fibers. and are rubbed with moisture.A wool fiber is covered with small scales. Each tribe had its own culture. When his tantrum subsided he saw to his amazement that stamping his feet had worked his tears into the wool. They traveled with camels. They had to adapt continually to changing living conditions because of their dependence on nature and the surrounding environment.
pottery. horses and tack. What these people produced for daily living was. The earliest prehistoric findings date from the Neolithic period (6500-6300 B. The most famous of these art treasures found to date come out of the rich burial mounds in the Altai mountains of the U.5 by 6. . It is very interesting for the modern feltmaker to see how far advanced were the techniques used in this ancient tapestry. It is an inexhaustible 3 The three-dimensional swan served as an adornment on a burial tent. etc. fur. musical instruments. wool fabrics.R. Other important excavations are from the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. The griffin.). Look closely at the drawings of the swan (fig. In fig. 2b). weapons and saddlery. In the border are appliqued positive and negative forms. This was caused by the way the graves were constructed to allow frost and ice to enter. they symbolized the mighty forces of nature (the Scythian or Siberian style of animal figures are shown in fig. and floral patterns as well. such as those of Pazyryk. 2).C. The three-dimensional swan worked in colored felt applique served as an adornment of a burial tent. is appliqued on a white felt saddle blanket. in addition to being functional. and leather.S. with its notched comb and collar. The normally perishable materials..5 meters. There also were common denominators in their art. such as clothing. like felt.. so artistic that many of those articles are now declared to be cultural treasures. 4 (right) A detail from the largest felt tapestry ever found: a rider on a horse. were well preserved. Animals were a frequent theme. The largest felt work yet discovered from this period is a hanging tapestry measuring 4. Because the dead were buried with their possessions. There are many mythological animals portrayed on it. It is now on exhibit in the Pazyryk room of the Hermitage Museum in Leningrad.the struggle for existence all the tribes used the same tools. these finds give an excellent picture of the nomads' way of life and the style of their art. 4 you can see a detail: a rider on a horse.S. 3) and the griffin (fig. two examples of animal motifs used in felt. jewelry.
rain and snow." The yurt actually was the site upon which the tent stood. a place of honor for high-ranking guests. The smoke hole in the middle of the roof was left uncovered in summer and served as a sundial. wears a saddle blanket made of felt. 5 Nomads needed felt for survival. a wooden criss-crossed lattice. Inside the tent was a large living area which was subdivided into sections for the man and the wife of the household. The rounded form helped the tent withstand strong winds. cJ: . had a diameter of 6 to 10 meters. You can experiment with them all. Their homes were collapsible. conical toward the top. - . The frame of the tent was light. Baby's cradle was a hammock of folded felt. each with its own place and the tent could be taken down by a few people in half an hour. and let your imagination take it from there.. the children and other family members. The floor was covered with decorated felt carpets. 12 . Furniture was made exclusively from felt. of course. Their space might be shared at times with the family's young livestock. These tents are often mistakenly called "yurts. . 6b The tent was carried by two camels to the next yurt. . In chapter Ill instructions are given for several of these techniques in felt. The door opening always faced south. Possessions also were kept in wooden trunks covered with felt (fig. mosaic and inlay techniques also are used. In summer the felt walls were rolled up. and separate places for male and female visitors (fig. To reassemble the tent would take one to two hours. 6b). often an extremely cold place to sit. Servants and peasants remained at the entrance of the tent. The framing was completely covered in winter with pieces of felt material. not the tent itself. large collapsible tents (fig. SERVANTS e PEASANTS \ / ? \ 6 lnside was a large living area with an orderly and precise division of space Around the walls were leather bags for storage of food and household articles.source of inspiration and encourages one to investigate all the possibilities of feltmaking. portable and foldable. and rich embroidery accentuates the motifs. They in turn were attached to the lattice with woven bands. The frame. It was circular. Even their homes. and carried by two camels to the next yurt (fig. 6a). 6). felt-covered tents 6a Household goods were stored in feltcovered trunks. Living with Felt Felt played an important part in the nomadic life. 5) were covered and furnished with felt. This provided adequate protection against cold. In addition to applique. The camel.
too. broom handle.S. Pure soap. As a rule. The larger pieces can then be used for a vest or boots. such as olive soap or soap powder is best. Carding One of the most important preparationS for making felt of even thickness is the carding' Nomads other the feltmaker's As you can See in fig. and in Britain the wool of Merino. cat. 7 Washboard. It is helpful to have a piece of non-fraying screen the same size as the rush mat. medium staple wools-the finer. ramie. Once you become a bit more proficient at making felt. that lies nearly horizontally 1cm the wool. about 60cm by 2m. such as that of the camel. 2 Synthetic window screening. and a list of mail-order suppliers is given on page 85. 5 Sprinkling bottle: a laundry sprinkler.* The hair of some animals also has felting properties. Basic Techniaues and Equipment Before you learn to make felt.-Ed. and the Persian karakul. 3 Old towels to soak up excess soapy water. Corriedale. Gotland Pelssheep. 8 Apron 9 Needle and thread 10 Pen and paper 11 Measuring tape (in centimeters) 12 Scale (metric) 13 Waterproof pen 14 Hand cards and/or drum carder 15 Form in which to make felt. Local suppliers also can make recommendations. Iceland sheep. llama. You can cut a few small pieces to use for making samplers. and Marsham sheep is readily available and is suitable for feltmaking. A nicer quality of felt will be obtained when the hair is mixed with sheep's wool. It has one string. brations cause the topmost layer of to become airy and porous. or a plant mister. 4 Soap. then you might also try the materials noted below. 8. 6 Sturdy. In the U. and yak. All these are used to "full" the felt. For your first attempts at feltmaking. Romney. Plant fibers. and cotton all are suitable. not detergent. The materials you will use are listed below. this bow resembles a musical instrument. softer woolsare best for feltmaking. Useful supplies for feltmaking are (shown in fig. alpaca. Combining of fibers will be explained in chapter Ill. . Hang the bow required a greatdeal of skill. Certain sheep produce wool with especially good felting wool: Jacob. Silk combined with wool gives a nice gloss to the resulting felt. 7): 1 A rush mat. can become felt when mixed with wool. you might check to see whether you already have the equipment you'll need. goat. the heather sheep from the Dutch province of Drente. under n. anything you mix with good felting wool will also felt-even plastic and chicken feathers. Nearly all the samples in this book were made with this kind of wool. and even human hair can also be felted along with wool. it is noted. Flax. it would be wise to use batt-carded wool from New Zealand sheep. Where another fiber is used. When the string is hit wooden hammer itstarts to vibrate. The wool used here is from Romney sheep. rolling pin. hemp. pliable plastic from which to cut out patterns. such as a cake pan 16 Felting fibers * The wool of particular breeds of sheep may be difficult to obtain in certain areas. Dog.11. In general. On page 85 are names and addresses of suppliers who sell feltmaking materials.
and even fun and relaxing. Carding by Hand There are many misunderstandings about hand carding. 12). With your right hand attach small tufts of fiber near the upper edge of the left card (fig 16). 15). With these. 13. . 10 mix different fibers a )r colors wool. with your left hand. keep your hand a. When you feed the wool into the carder. You still need to divide it into smaller pieces or strips (see figs. and in addition an inadequate arrangement of the wool. 14.Carding on the Drum Carder We now have more modern equipment. Comb lightly through the fibers 11 To remove the wool. 1 Put the left card on your left knee. insert a finger or knitting needle under the combed layer at the opening across the drum. turn the wheel slowly backward while removing the wool.s tightly as possible against the feeder board. sore arms. 8 This bow. 12 Wit1 ~r left hand. take it off as follows. When the wool on the large roller is 1 cm thick. The results are scraping noises. That is indeed the case if too much wool is used at one time and if the cards are beaten together with force. 2 Keep the left card on your left knee. you can remove them with the small brush that comes with your carder. such as hand wool cards and the drum carder.. Often the complaint is that it is such heavy work. . one must be very precise. pick up all the fibers while slowly turning the handle backward with your right hand (fig. resembles the bow of a musical instrument. With your left hand. With a little bit of practice you can make many fiber designs and color mixtures this way. 9). Try it a few times following the directions here. Lift the wool to make an opening across the width of the roller. used for carding. Use a small amount of wool at a time so the mill will turn easily and the wool will divide itself evenly over the drum. you can place tufts of the contrasting material on top of the large roller. This prevents your hand from touching the small hooks. While turning. liftthe carded piece higher and higher until you hold the whole piece in your left hand. while turning the handle slowly backward with your right hand. hold your hand as closely as possible to the feeder board (fig. Put a knitting needle or a finger under the combed layer of wool at this point (fig. and you will see that it can be painless. palm upward. Then. too. . When you want to mix different fibers and/or different colors of wool. pick up all the fibers at once. Take care that the wool stays 2 cm away from the edges. too. with your left arm stretched out. 11). hold the card so that the handle points away from you and the small hooks on the card are upward. you can also fasten tufts of material on top of the large roller. Turn the drum so the blank area at the seam is toward the top. If there are still fibers on the roller. In this case. otherwise wool may go into the axle and cause the carder to lock. Hold the right card with the right hand palm downward. The piece that you have taken off is not yet ready forfelting. 9 When feeding the wool into the carder.
Repeat this several times and the fibers will move to the top of the small hooks from which they can be loosened easily. Repeat the process a few times. Place the wool carefully on a sheet of paper and cover it with a second sheet. with the right card (fig. alternately. 2b Pouring the second color. move your hands upward. with short jerks. so you will have one long strip from the carded piece. 3 The carded wool is transferred to the right card as follows. To prevent tangling. With the cards in this position. 18). 4 To remove the wool from the cards. 14 Then start the next strip. Try not to let the metal hooks mesh. or rolags.13 The carded woolis dividedinto a continuous strip. 15 Divide the long strip into pieces comparable in size to those you carded by hand. place the cards vertically against one another with both handles pointing upward. use a scraping motion to take the fibers off the right card (fig. with the handles upward. Again place one card at a right angle to the other and transfer the fibers. 19). separate a strip almost to the bottom of the batt. Working with both hands. Repeat a few times and the wool will lay as a small carded roll along the top edge of the card (fig. 6 Another way to remove wool from the cards is to shape it into small rolls. transferring as often as necessary. The left card is placed at a right angle to the right one. 17). wind it into a ball. 5 Now the wool is in a rectangular form. Hold the cards as in step 4. Repeat the carding process until you have enough wool for your project. Turn the right hand over and hold the card on your right thigh. 2d There is enough dye for an exnaust aath . Keeping them in this position.
16 Place small tufts of wool toward the top of the left card. The suds should ooze up between your fingers as 17 Comb lightly through the fibers with the right card. baste the piece between the top and bottom layers of screen (fig. 20). Different kinds of wool will shrink at different rates." Fold the screening in half in such a way that it completely surrounds the sampler (fig. When the third layer is in place sprinkle again. First sprinkle the piece again a few more times. Use a funnel to transferthe soapy water to the sprinkler bottle. or soap powder. When you now add the third layer. Don't let the teeth mesh. A good place to make felt is at the kitchen counter. A laundry sprinkler or a plant mister will do well. using large stitches. make four layers. The h pulled upward. It has an even surface. Unroll a rush mat on the towel. about three times. Place the second piece next to it so that it overlaps the first piece on the left side by 1 cm. The second layer is put down so the wool fibers are lying crosswise to those of the first layer (fig. Work from the outside edges toward the center to prevent the wool from moving as you sew. and excess water can be discarded easily. in a pint of hot water and stir until the soap has completely dissolved. On future pieces. The weight of the moisture will flatten the wool layer somewhat. Step 4 The sampler is "wrapped. 30 x 30cm on the screen. Step 2 Before putting down the third and fourth layers. it will adhere slightly to the second layer. in a small notebook. with short jerking motions. Spray the wool carefully. face of the wool. Then. The third layer should lie in the same direction as the first. Step 5 The felting can now begin. Take care that you always work evenly across the whole piece. All pieces are now lying like roof tiles. After you have worked the piece for a few minutes. and do the same after the fourth layer. 22). alternately. it is advisable to read carefully through this entire chapter. you have to wetthe firsttwo layers (fig. for example. This is the first layer. lightly. the fourth in the same direction as the second. palms upward. press the piece down. and it is important to always record measurements both at the beginning and the end of the process.Making a Sampler Before you begin to work. Prepare a bottle for the soapy water. with your palms and fingers. On top of that put the window screen. During the felting process shrinking will occur. use a waterproof pen to draw a square of. To keep your first sample precise. 23). 21). Or. the length and the width. or you can make a sprinkler bottle by punching small holes in an empty plastic soap bottle with a hammer and a small nail. Step 3 Write down the original measurements of your material. The wool forms a roll. otherwise an irregular quality of felt will result. The third piece is placed so that it lies under the first one and overlaps the second by 1 cm. Continue this way until the square is completely covered. a rolag. 24). if you are working with a block of olive soap. water and soap are close at hand. check to see -whether you used enough soap and water. I . The suds will lay like little pearls on the sur- 18 Transfer the wool from one card to the other. For this sample. rub it once firmly over the screen. Then. The fourth piece covers number three on the left side and number two on the top (fig. Cover the counter with a towel to absorb excess water. Note the position of the hands: cards upward. Step 1 Take a piece of carded wool and put it down within the marked area. you will know how much shrinkage to expect. Dissolve 1 tablespoon olive soap. 19 Making a small roll.
P m l r s t sampler IS enclosed with 24 Wrth large bastrng strtches the prece is secured between the top and bottom layers of screen. 1 i 22 II . the firsf layer of wool isput down like roof tiles.21 The second layeris put down crosswise to the first. On it. 20 A square of 3 0 x 30cm is drawn on the screen. 22 The first two layers are sprinkled with hot soapy water.
When you rub it. It is handy to also roll up the excess matting. For this first sample. Does the soapy water run out between your fingers in little streams? Then it is clear that a little too much has been applied and you will have to press a little longer to reduce the amount of moisture. the moment has arrived to check whether the piece has turned into "felt. like small barbed hooks. nothing will happen.you press. they are firmly anchored. If not." With the nailsof your thumb and index finger. These small hooks attach to one another when they close. Step 7 After the screening is removed. Caution is needed because the wool has a tendency to attach itself to the screen. It is difficult to say how long you should rub. held flat. To begin the fulling. just sprinkle again lightly with soapy water. the felting process is notfar enough advanced (fig. It is wise to turn the material over every five minutes and work the other side. then place the piece on the matting just ahead of the roll (fig. One person may have much stronger hands than another. Stop once in awhile and test by pressing on the piece. then close again during the continued rubbing process. then not enough soapy water was used and you will need to sprinkle the wool again. which open up at first contact with hot soapy water. stopping just beyond the end of the felt piece. take hold of a small amount of wool and carefully pull upward. remove the basting threads and carefully fold the screen back. If you can still feel a little moisture between your fingers. 27 Roll the piece ~nrush matting to do the fullrng. the wool will no longer stick to your hands and the edges will not change any further. Hold the roll firmly with both hands and work it back and forth as if you were using a rolling pin. make small circles over the piece (fig. The manner in which the roll is worked depends on one's own personal preference. Keep aconstant watch overthe amount of moisture in the wool. Remember that the wool fiber has scales. you will have created a wet woolen material. is called fulling. 27). It is this action that produces the compact material called felt. but it is not yet "hard" enough. ' 26 Do the finger test once in awhile. If the wool starts to come through the screen sooner than this you should stop. the piece loses moisture. If the fibers lift up very easily. After you have rubbed for a total of twenty minutes. The hardening process. 25). b . You also will need to wring out the towel under the rush matting. Step 8 Once the felting procedure has been completed. If no suds appear on the surface when you press. Step 6 If all is well. This is why the wool layers have to be put crosswise on top of each other. everything is all right. Roll up just a few inches of the mat. stop and measure the length and width to see whether any 25 Rub in small circles. always in the same direction. try rubbing the wool for twenty minutes. and once the felting process is completed. so that the mat can be rolled toward or away from you. so that everything fits nicely on the countertop. This also is the reason you must rotate your hands in the same direction when rubbing the wool. 26) and you need to continue rubbing in small circles. Should you rub first to the left and then tothe right. Roll the piece in the mat. during which the material shrinks. You will not need the screening at this point. place the rush matting lengthwise in front of you. It is very important always to rotate the hands in the same direction. There may be differences in the way the wool is laid down. With one or both hands. you can begin to rub the piece very carefully. After five minutes.
If you have a board of soft wood you can pin the material to it to dry. If the edges of your material are somewhat thin and ragged. who knows? Perhaps a great workshop will soon be offered in your neighborhood. 28). keep in mind what its use will be and how firm the material should be. Consider this piece as a test. Watch out-this method works very quickly! Here. you have to stretch the piece in the appropriate direction. only now you can see and feel everything much better. or you can work it with a rolling pin. Otherwise let it dry flat on a towel. 30). If the sampler was originally 30 x 30cm. The edges should align precisely. after the fulling it should be about 25 x 25cm. With each work piece. If you are able to felt a nice piece without using the screen. If you wish to use an ancient. It is good for the wool to add a dash of vinegar to the last rinse to neutralize the soap. put the screening loosely on top for a short period.shrinkage has occurred. 29 Fulling can also be done with your feet. When the material feels firm and has shrunk enough. The rest of the process is the same as with the screen.I 28 Fulling on ashboard helps achieve a good fit in a garment. or press it dry with an iron. and put it back into the form. All these methods work. If you have a washboard. the daughter-the new felt-was turned repeatedly during the process. Shrinkage is usually between 10 and 25%. You can wrap it around a broom handle. You can continue fulling until no further shrinkage takes place. so you can press down the wool. . then you should make a third sample. As soon as the air is pressed from the wool.. . They called the two pieces of felt "mother and daughter. If this is not the case. after you remove the screen you can fold over each edge about a centimeter and press it tightly. try aqain to get the same results without basing the wool between pieces of screening. It is also possible to do the fulling by walking over the material in your bare feet or while wearing boots (fig. Cover the counter with a towel and rush mat. Repeat this action in all directions. you can move on to other techniques or to a clothing project." To make sure that mother and daughter would not felt together. then in cold. just wear boots! . but this is not usually necessary. During the fulling felt always shrinks in the direction in which it is rolled! If all is well. this is the time to brush it-in onedirection onlv-with a small. sturdy brush. or. There are still other ways to full the material. try making a new piece of felt on top of an old one. This is the reason samplers are indispensable. If you want a napped surface on the felt. the piece should by now have shrunk a little in length. Turn the material a quarter turn and roll it again for five minutes. After the last layer of wool is in place and the piece has been sprinkled. If this attempt was unsuccessful. 29). It is difficult to predict the exact percentage of shrinkage. the way in which it is laid down and the amount of hand pressure used. Squeeze the piece well. the rule of continuous turning and changing direction applies. you can do the fulling on it instead of rolling the material in the matting (fig. you can remove the screen. If it's cold. it is time to rinse it out. It depends upon how the wool is carded. . proven technique. as the nomads did. This will prevent it from sticking to your hands. too. If the first piece is a success. it is for you to find out which is most enjoyable for you. Rinse first in warm water. and putthe wool directly on the mat. Place the washboard in the sink and rub the material firmly back and forth over the ridges. Step 9 Do afinal check to be sure your work is square by folding the piece diagonally (fig.
Let the children choose a pan or box to use as a mold. (Remember.- Felting with Children When you are working with children it is better to proceed in a slightly different way. water. curly wool it is not as important that they be laid down precisely. Have them take the wet fleece out of the mold carefully and put it back in upside down. or that they are neatly layered like roof tiles. It's best just to show it. prepare a spray bottle of hot soapy water. or soap it again and wring it out. press straight down onto the wool. They can decorate with buttons or beads. have the child spray it again with the suds. When they open the piece enlarges. Let the children choose whether they want to make thick or thin felt. The procedure is slightly different when you use a mold than that used for the first sampler. The child can also squeeze the piece. just have him pour it out. When you notice dry fluff on the bottom of any piece. wet one hand really well and press the center part to the bottom of the mold. When the edges have been flattened there will be a "pillow" in the middle of the mold. Most often when a child sees his first piece of felt he immediately has an idea of what it should become. They can then felt for about fifteen minutes using one hand. Here. it is not ready yet. 31). Older children can felt a doll in the washing machine. and with the other pulls small pieces out of the wool and covers the bottom of his mold. or perhaps fold it in thirds to make a small neckbag.) When all the children have reached this point. When the pieces feel firm enough they can be fulled outside the mold with a rolling pin. Remind them to keep pushing down the outside border with their fingertips. page 25). The child holds his wool in one hand. the feltmaking can start. 26. With the fingertips of both hands. New Zealand batt-carded wool is ideal to use. Then the children can check to see whose piece still fits the mold. the barbed hooks on the wool fibers open then close again during the rubbing process. Plastic boxes. Lift the hand very slowly to prevent the wool from sticking to it and pulling up again. Once in awhile let them do the finger test. Work all the way around the edge in this manner. loaf pans. If water remains in the mold. Repeat t h ~ s few times a until the wool remains flat against the bottom of the mold. when it is rubbed. check the degree of moisture in their wool pieces. After the layers are in place and have been sprayed. or the knuckles or fingertips. too. With children you can also felt marbles and balls. To flatten it. it will become smaller than the mold. If they use small tufts of short. lifting afew fibers with the nails of the thumb and index finger (see fig. These instructions are found in chapter V. Finally the pieces should be rinsed. or the other. they have to be able to see what they are doing. After completing each layer of wool the child can spray it a little. If the fibers come up. dip them occasionally into warm water. because the wool expands. The method has to be quicker and more direct. soap and wool are the necessary equipment (fig. The edges of the piece will now begin to extend slightly up the sides of the mold. If the wool sticks to your fingers. whatever they like. Put all the necessary equipment on a plastic-covered table. on a washboard or in rush matting. and decide what more they want to do with their work. and give each one a wad of wool. . Meantime.
here a little bit of white silk also is used. the better the steam prepare the dye. This way you will acquire an evenly dyed harmonizing color. -synthetic dye with an acid base. too.57 cc (or ml) 1 oz = . synthetic and vegetable. r the pan and heat it slowly. 2c). If you do not have a rice steamer. for ample. If one color is red directly onto another. Here. let the wool and the silk steam for an additional half hour. When the result is pleasing. Put 100 grams in the colander. or if you want to dye more than 100 grams of wool at a time. then rinse it in water of the same temperature. Yellow over blue becomes green. If all goes well you will ee fantastic patterns formed by the . quickly cover e again and let everything steam orfifteen minutes. Let the material cool in the pan. using dowels or spoons. Try. below is a conversion table to help you: 1 I = 1000cc(orml) 1 dl = 100 cc (or ml) 1 cl = 10 cc (or ml) 1 ml= 1cc Weight: Cubic measure: = 1000grams = 1 kg 100 grams = 10 grams = = 1 grams = l 0 0 0 m g U. blue dyes. On the bottom of the pan there will be an "exhaust bath.$When all the colors are mixed and the bol and silk are steaming. You can put in a tuft of wool-here 20 grams was used-and perhaps some silk. After turning the fibers. remove the colander and quickly add hot water.th a swirling motion. mixed in separate jars. -stainless steel teaspoons or plastic spoons to mix the dye. -mordant. exactly the way you did the first time. the colors .0473 1 1 Pt = .946 1 1 qt = 3. -clean glass jars. red-orange. If necessary. There are all of possibilities for mixing fibers. -rubber gloves. 32).Dyeing with SteamMany Colors in One Bath One dyeing method that gives very nice results with felting is dyeing in a steam bath. Because many dye recipes work with weights in grams and cubic measures in liters. For the usual dyeing methods. -kitchen scales for the wool. or let it cool in the colander. pour the remaining dyes over the wool. but lot less water than the recipe indiHere two cups of water were used d of one liter. In the classroom we used an enameled kettle containing two bricks. For making a dye steam bath you need: wool. I refer you to the existing literature on the subject. The wool and silk can now be turned. Steam it for another fifteen minutes and have another look. -enamel or stainless steel dye kettle. ~ Ithe bottom part of the steamer with I r and a cup of vinegar. pouring the dye over the fibers . You can also make a grill by drilling holes in a piece of hard plastic which has been cut into a circle (fig. so the dye divides elf over the surface. fter pouring the dyes." dye which is still useable (color plate 2d). some silk is long with the wool. upon which was placed a grill of willow twigs (fig. Be sure the of the colander is at least 1cm he water surface. you can make a kind of strainer yourself. Sprinkle one of each color dye on the silk and the I (color plates 2a. resulting in a multicolored bath. 2b.batt-carded O 0 O 0 O 0 O 0 o 0 o 0 o 0 O 0 ~ 32 Grills of willow and plastic. pull on your es and open the pan. and dye it according to the standard directions.785 1 1 gal . -scales marked in grams for measuring the dye. to be sure the water in the bottom of the pan has not evaporated. -household vinegar. in which several dye colors can be used at the same time (color plate 2). The advantage of dyeing with steam is that it will not dry out the wool so much. llow the directions of the recipe. Its color IS a blend of all colors used. The r the cover fits. A rice steamer with a tight-fitting colander is ideal. -wooden or stainless steel spoons for turning the wool. 32). yellow. Check. Always add an extra .S liqu id measure: = 29. Use at least two In this example a solution is made le.
Feltmaking and Weaving For this work two pieces were felted. too. There are pieces of work with modern designs. too.111. and it is embellished with rich embroidery. For example. silk. One piece of felt was made in white. Both the cutout and the piece from which it was cut were put on a largerfelt piece and pressed down firmly. interweave them or braid them in. 35). a drawing was used as a cutting pattern. cotton. for example. The colored piece was cut into separate strips. In older works can be seen the influence of weaving. Both the cutout and the piece from which 34 Old motifs. Remember when you do this sample that the background piece has to be twice as large as the piece from which the motif is cut. knotting and felting in. metal. the geometric motifs and borders. Again two pieces were felted. Traditional and Modern Techniques and Motifs Students in my classes made several samplers exhibiting different technical methods in design of and decoration with felt. This technique lends itself to many variations. For this sampler a swirling cloud was drawn (color plate 3e). The cloud border is also seen on the front cover of this book. Or you can felt a piece just through the early stage-the felt is still very softthen cut it into strips. 33 and 34). The motif was cut out of the folded piece. Felt was sometimes quilted. Figurative designs like flowers. Felting with Cutout Shapes Here is a modern adaptation of an ageold theme: the cloud. Here. a white one and a soft-colored one. In this way the motifs were felted directly onto the backing. The cloud is in gold. and the sunwheel (figs. weave or braid them. the smallest piece was folded double. you can pull tufts out of the wool while it is still dry. and people were usually embroidered on the felt. animals. 33 A variety of old motifs. such as clouds and ramshorns are still used. then felt the piece. the white piece was cut so that the strips could be woven into it (fig. . a symbol of heavenly protection. such as scraps of felt. because a straight line of stitching could split the felt. Guidelines were drawn with pencil and ruler. A drawing was p i n ~ e to thedyed piece and used as the pattern for cutting. it was cut were used as motifs and were stitched onto the white felt. but in this case the felting was stopped for a short time at an early stage of the process. We can assume that many motifs from the early felt tapestries were copied and expanded upon in the woven and knotted tapestries of later periods. This same positive/negative effect can be accomplished by using a different technique. Applique allowed the addition of different materials to the tapestries and other felt articles. The large piece was turned over and the felting process continued. but an equal number feature old motifs such as the cloud. from the large Pazyryk tapestry (see 1. chapter 1 ) Mosaic technique and applique are used in it. the ramshorn. The students learned a great deal. A few of these are pictured and discussed in this chapter. The quilting was done in continuous slanted lines. In the picture on page 34 are examples of a geometric form and a small doll (fig. and continue the felting process. At the point where the fibers were sprinkled and soaped in. The two pieces were stitched together after weaving. too. 36). even bark and leather. and one in yellow and d green. all depicting the sunwheel.
%m&er is cut and strios of colored felt are woven throuah it 35 Using a cutout form and also using the remainder results in a positive and negative design. 34 .
shrinkage is about the same as with wool) Alpaca (felts well. Its structure is verv fine. (See color plate 3. but in more than one direction. shrinks somewhat less than other wool) Ramie is a plant fiber.37 A variety of different fibers are felted into a sampler. The diagonal stripes. from bottom right to top left are: Camel hair (felts well. Because it does not shrink it will lie in waves. shrinks much more than does wool) Swedish wool (felts rapidly. Linen gives the same result as ramie. It attaches well to the wool. Changing Texture and Structure By layering different materials you can change the structure and texture of the felt. also called Chinese linen. it has the same shrinkage rate as wool) Icelandic wool(felts well. This experiment (fig.1 . 37) was done with a foundation of dark grey New Zealand wool upon which strips of two different fibers were arranged. Silk also produces wavy lines. either alone Or mixed with wool. it shrinks more than wool) Two colors of karakul (felts well.
It was then sprinkled lightly to keep the fibers in place. Thread decoration was sewn around the edges of the motif to accentuate the three-dimensional quality. a layer of dyed wool. a layer of white wool. 39. Finally two layers of grey New Zealand wool were put on top to create the darker background. Serious faults can be touched up at this stage with a blunt needle. After you have worked for about five minutes on the grey background side of the piece.first place it in a clear plastic bag. Then turn the piece over again and work on the back side. Put the protected drawing on the rush matting. Mixing of Fibers and Colors To achieve the colors of the tropical fish shown in color plate 3. The butterfly shape is composed of old motifs: the ramshorn and the spiral. decide upon the appropriate fibers. The white background was put in place as the second layer and the piece was sprinkled again. the felted piece will be right side up. Accenting with Thread Here a butterfly is used as an example (color plate 3b). To the early mystics the spiral was an eternity symbol. you can trace the drawing first. The motif-a few triangles-was cut out of the top layer of white wool after the piece was felted and fulled (color plate 3d). Colors for the fish were chosen from this series of ten squares. with the colors felted on a layer of white wool and separated by lines of felted yak hair. The squirrel shown in fig. First a sampler was made (color plate 3c). . turn it over and compare the felt drawing with the original. then placed on a background piece so the motif stands out in relief. In some cases three colors were mixed to get the desired result. 38 was laid out using dark brown alpaca and Icelandic wool. and another layer of white wool were felted together. When you put the copy in the plastic bag wrong side up. and natural wool. and you can begin. and even as tattoos.Copying a Picture in Felt To copy a drawing or other picture in felt. by taping it against a window and using paper or plastic that is somewhat transparent. If this is undesirable. Other designs can be worked in this manner too. The finished piece will be a mirror image of the original drawing. of course. bourette silk. You will be making the picture upside down-the first layer you place will be the top layer of your felt picture. Here the motif was cut out of a thick piece of felt. Cutting Out Designs Forthis sample. The spiral appears in nearly every prehistoric culture as decoration on stone statues. The feltversion will always be a free translation. such as the apple and the pineapple in fig. different colors of dyed wool were mixed with dyed tussah silk. on pottery.
on the t layer of wool with the fluffed nsideand the curls outside the en the top layer is in place the achment will be invisible. . Applique and Embroidery The three samplers in fig. and the middle stripe was accentuated with a row of darning stitches. place the first 01. The centerpiece was decorated with felt and wool. were partially covered with fabric outlined with back stitches. Parts of the stripes fllled in with flannel and embelwith chain stitches. nge can be laid into the wool before g. In this sample long basting ches are applied with copper thread. pull a curly end out of the luff out the fibers on one end. orating with Sequins and Beads s you can see in fig.he bottom sampler became very lively. On the second sampler an additional circle was embroidered. then lay a row of fringe ss the bottom edge of the lastic 2-3cm wide e length of the piece. Small m u p s of sequins were placed between c'ircles for a whimsical touch. use the stripes and circles were red with fabric. want to have fringe all over the is example. cond row of fringe is put down in way that the curly ends lie on the and the fluffed upper ends on the o they will adhere. On'top goes r strip of plastic and the process 39 Two or more coloredlayers can be feltedon to^I of one another. place the pieces. and motifs cut in different ways. The circles. one at a time. The bottom one has additional fabric added to highlight the circles and str~pes. c~rcles andstr~pes felted are into the top layer. Place it so overs the very tops of the fringe where they will attach to the wool. Long. 41. curly sheep's wool or a bination of long and short wool can sed under the wool. . felt lends itself well to decoration with sequins and II beads. To prepare the forfelting. 40 were made from three layers of dark grey New Zealand wool. On the top layer white wool was used to make the three stripes and five circles. 40 In each piece. Conuntil you have a supply large enough fringe is to serve only as a finishch along the edges.
the small feathers were sewn on later. . The patterns given here are 10 to 20% larger than standard sizes to allow for shrinkage. Of course a purchased sewing pattern is also satisfactory. The tulips on the vest at left in the photo were embroidered with chain stitches. Clothing Before you begin to make felted clothing you should have tried the techniques in chapter II and made a few test pieces from chapter Ill. In the blue vest the shoulder seams were felted together. The red vest has inlaid diagonal red and pink stripes. then trace it onto sturdy. Choose one with simple lines and few tailoring darts. and buy it two sizes larger than your normal pattern size. transparent plastic (such as that used for upholstery).IV. 4x4cm). 43 the diagonal stripes are laid into just the top layer of wool. For the striped vest in fig. Your work will be more enjoyable if you first make the pattern to size on large-scale graph paper (i. This vest is lined. they were laid through all the layers. then the feather was sewn on. The patterns in this chapter are shown as models on graph paper. The stripes on the blue vest follow the garment's lines. and trimmed with bias tape. The only new techniques introduced in this chapter will be those which apply to specific articles of clothing. Vest and Coats The vests shown in color plate 5b were made of just one piece of fabric each. For your first attempt at felted clothing. The fringe is felted in (see chapter Ill). The end of each feather was first wrapped with thread. The colored stripes are felted into the top layer of wool.e. 43 The tulips are embroidered with chain stitch.
The motifs are outlined with thick strands of handspun yarn. lengthwise. A very loosely woven draperyfabric works. Always be sure to take into account the shrinkage rate of the backing material. Rub for a longer time in the direction in which you want the felt to shrink. A jacket with raglan sleeves is easily made from four rectangular pieces (fig. A piece of tulle was felted along with the wool. The soaping process resembled an 47 . Only two layers of wool were used. the I was sprinkled wrth hot water.) When layers of wool were rn place. and the coat comes just to the waist. The front pattern piece was laid out. One square is 4 x 4cm. 45). Another jacket pattern was adapted to create the raglan pattern. The sleeves a r i three-quarter length. The design on this jacket consists of simplistic mountains and clouds. The tulle was cut into shape and placed on top of the plastic pattern on the rush matting. 44. and decorative machine stitching was added. The advantage here is that you can make four smaller pieces of material-a less tiring process. rnto the coat's T shape. About 25 ounces of I was used The coat rs made in one ce shaped lrke a large double T. the tulle felts together tightly with the wool. Four h mats weresewn together and spread on tables. in place only for the first phase. wrth hot water sprrnkled on the roll occasronally. structure. If there are places that are too large. without the front and back feltrng together. then srxstudents helped put the wool for the rest of the coat.44 Tulle was cut to the pattern. The side seams were felted closed. The red and blue patterns were place. and gives firmness to the Telt. 44) consists of two pieces of felted material. Frrst the back seam allowance was folded around the plastrc pattern. It is also possible to felt a backing fabric onto the inside of the garment. so fewer layers of wool are necessary. and laid at a right angle in place against the front. The front was made as one piece and later cut down the center. Only then was soapy water worked into it. way the work was more pleasant went qurckly. The diagonal line of the sleeve es about by "subtracting" a -shaped section from the front g rt to the sleeve. (Of course it IS possrble felt a coat by yourself. and the sleeve pattern was folded in half. and the wool layers placed on top of ~ tBecause of its open . A big plastic separating zipper was sewn in. you can full those a bit longer on the washboard. Now a second plastrc pattern was placed on the wool so the prece could be folded over it. The jacket with raglan sleeves (fig. rolled sh matting. provjded you plenty of time and space. then the back sleeve seam allowance The front and the sleeve front seam allowances were folded around the folded back seam allowances (there IS more about this procedure wrth the rnstructrons for mak~nghats). The tulle attaches itself to the wool during the felting process. the jacket shown ~nflg. first pouring a little boiling water over the area. The front is made as one piece and later cut. The back was he white coat wlth the red and blue mond desrgn (color plate 5a) is made as rt mrght be in a professronal felter's workshop. During the fulling process it is best to try on the vest now and then. The coat was rolled for about half an hour In the rush matting. then rolled back and forth for ten mrnutes. When the matting was unrolled the thick wool layer was flattened and had changed rnto a frrm fleece. wrth the plastrc pattern laid p.
It was rolled up again. The coat was tried on then. This pattern is from a richly embroidered coat like those once worn by farmers and shepherds. with the piece rolled in a different direction each time. 46: a modern Hungarian szur. then his szurwas put out on the steps so he could collect it and make his retreat. Finally the coat was rinsed in hot and cold water alternately. too. The decorations.45 A jacket with raglan sleeves is made from four' pieces old-fashioned laundering. such as that of proposing marriage. Then some firm rubbing took place. and fulled a little bit more on the body. he would leave his coat behind. now made of machine-felted wool. then the whole piece was once again sprinkled with soap suds. if not. with the sleeves sewn closed and 46 (right) A contemporary Hungarianszur. the coat remained at the prospective bride's house. The classical szur was often worn as a cape. are done by machine. A young man was presented one by his family when he became an adult. the seams were trimmed. With one hand inside the coat to support the area being rubbed. If the proposal was accepted. The seams were very carefully rubbed first. The felt was smoothed with a steam iron-a modern improvement to an old technique. the soap was worked into the coat one section at a time. and laid flat to dry. Only when the coat had become firm were the neck opening and center front cut open. until this century. The coat was traditional wear for special occasions. and the back side was worked in the same manner. The szur was. this time around a broom handle instead of in the matting. Next the piece was turned. Finally. The richly ornamented front panels are folded double and meet in back to form a "sailor's collar" that can be foldedinto a hood. This step was repeated several times. . an important man's garment. When the young man left his beloved's home after making his proposal. Another adaptation of an historic pattern can be found in fig.
Add an extra layer of . The slippers are lined for added firmness and as insurance against itching. Arrange the remaining wool. Other items of clothing shown here are constructed from pieces of felt. Each is made as a single piece. The machine then felts the wool into a firm. A modern example of felt made by machine is shown in color plate 4. put the solid plastic circle on the rush matting. She works with the felt manufacturer Bury Cooper Whitehead Ltd." because in the making of her woolen Paintings she can change her design right up to the last minute. The pattern was laid by hand by London designer Annie Sherburne (see also figs. The diameter of the beret is 30cm. 49). Weigh out two separate portions of wool. among others. The donut-shaped pattern piece is now carefully centered on top of the wool layer. in Lancashire. and all necessities within reach. I I I I I I I I I ' I ' ' ' ' ! I Pattern for baby boots. It is edged with embroidery. fig. fashion designer Jean Muir. who has them made into short coats. While a piece is being produced. Arrange the larger portion of wool in straight rows on the plastic. 47a Children's Clothing With felted children's clothing. The front section has afew stripes of colored wool felted into it. The technique was previously described in this chapter. fig. with the counter covered. Cut two pattern pieces out of plastic. Sprinkle lightly after each layer. The little coat at top left has knitted sleeves. over the top piece of plastic. The shoulder seams are stitched closed. she can stop the transport band and apply motifs to the top layer at leisure. 47 is felted from one piece. A beret or cap is made from a circle (fig. Her felted pieces are much in demand with. and one at 45 grams. Press it down with both hands so the suds underneath will penetrate the wool. used as bags for transporting the necessities of daily living.pattern for baby slippers. one at 55 grams. again leaving about 2cm extending beyond the outer edge of the circle. This gives her the advantage of being ableto make large pieces unassisted. The wool that extends beyond the plastic should now be folded inward. The wool should extend about 2cm beyond the pattern edge. Hats A felt hat can be made by several different methods. and from one of the two circles cut an inner circle with a diameter of 9cm. II 47 Even the novice can achieve good results with felted children's clothing. even the novice can achieve good results. This will become the opening of the beret. She Calls the process "painting with wool. 47b. The baby vest has small patches of colored silk felted onto the surface. even fabric. The vest at top right in fig. When you are ready to begin. You will find in this chapter instructionsfor a beret and a hat. but keeping the inner circle free. 49and 50).
not against the plastic-and press down for a moment. a desrgn was worked into the top layer of wool. and follow the usual proce1. The berets were felted with several different f~bers. and shrny brard encrrcles the brrm 48 The baslc hat pattern can be changed to surf your own taste. After the layers are in placeand sprinkled. the crown is enlargedso a groove could be pressed into it. wool just around the inner circle. On the hat shown upper left. the hat at bottom right is stitched in a circular pattern from brrm to top. sprinkle. fold the extension back-onto the wool. dure (chapter 1 ) Pattern for hats shown in fig. n for beret (fig. It was decorated wrth 6 and sequ~ns. 49) 53 . Cover the beret with screening.48 For thrs triangular hat. 48.
or the crown made higher so it can be indented to make a trilby hat. The inner rim can be reinforced with a grosgrain ribbon. Only after the beret is rinsed and dried should the opening be cut to size. if necessary. 49 and feltmaker Annie Sherburne. Hold "the pattern at the top. :the plastic can be removed. Of course the pattern can be altered to suit your taste. though. See also After about fifteen minutes put your hand into the center opening so that the edge "seam" lies across your palm. Do not cut it too soon. felt always 54 stretches a little bit. or on a washboard. Take care that no fibers adhere to it.50 A wide-brimmed hat cut from materi machine-made felt 2 x 3 meters. With your other hand press and flatten the thick folded area. The brim can be widened. but work very carefully. The instructions will tell you how to do this. You will need two 50-gram portions of wool. The hat pattern is for a head circumference of 56cm. Remove the plastic before fulling the beret. lfollowing the procedure for the beret. You can use small circular motions to do this. The procedure is the same as for the beret. Put both hands inside the hat. When the whole hat has had its turn. Pull it slowly for'Ward and outward. Fulling can be done either with the beret rolled in the rush matting. When you make a hat it is important to make the brim sturdy enough. In figs. Again put both hands inside the hat and fold it so that the side seams lie in the center front and center 55 . Do this carefully. Press until the seam is the same thickness as the rest of the beret.
The procedure. The decoration around the ankles was taken from some worn-out Tibetan boots. 2cm away from your hand. can certainly be left overnight. The difference is in the shape and d it on the mat to dry. Then work the second mitten to this point. 52) are totally different in appearance. For the last full- on the floor and rub your while wearing the boots.. The advantage of making two mittens at the same time is that during the felting process each step can be completed on one of the mittens. adding I . You can make a pattern yourself.and rubthe brim firmly with both Now try on the hat (you may want The boots in the center of the photo have soles which were salvaged from a pair of Yugoslavian ballet shoes. or any other felt project. If you are making both mittens at the same time. then right away on the other. The hat Irm enough that it will stand firmness you can sew grosgrain en sewn together (fig. about 30 grams each. Now cut two pattern pieces for each mitten. again. and the top border is decorated with a woven ribbon from Staphorst. 50). o trace the outline of a well-fitting r knee sock on plastic. Bags The bags pictured (fig. is the same as for hats. work on one at a time until after the last layer of wool is put down. . Be sure to allow extra length at the wrist. with fingers together and your thumb as far as possible out to the side. Place your hand flat on a piece of plastic. That way they really will be a pair. once sprinkled and put into its form. its seam allowances folded over. provided the material is covered with plastic to keep it moist. avillage in Holland where traditional costumes are still worn. 56 - through those instructions once n. Draw an outline with a waterproof pen. Weigh out two portions of wool. . Keep in mind that mittens. So your felted boots can be a wonderful experiment in recycling! Mittens The difficulty with felted mittens is to make two exactly alike. Color plate 4 Two pieces of machine-made felt from English designer Annie Sherburne. and the sprinkling completed. the same size and the same thickness (see color plate 5a). . but they are all made the same way: from a single piece of felt.
creating a totally different effect. 5b Both these vests have inlaid stripes. Right Pattern for the coat . to keep you toasty warm during the winter. With the red vest they are diagonal and in the blue vest they are circular. The colored wool is less vivid when it is felted onto white wool.Color plate 5a An ensemble in Dutch colors. The contrasting stripes are incorporated into all layers.
cover ~t ~ t h w the other. You can make the marblesflat or make them elliptical. dlp ~tand squeeze it agaln. Alpaca and Icelandic wool in three natural colors were arranged in a pattern of semi-circles.V. sllver. Icelandic and New Zealand wools were spun and twisted into a cord which serves as a shoulder strap. I 52 Bags made from felted samplers the finishing touches. '"\\ \-. It was felted in a washing machine in water of about 140" (60°C). Increase the Pressure and roll a firm small ball. Balls. The large bag in the picture also is made of one piece. and soapIng After about ten repeats you will have in your hand a wet wad with no resemblance to a marble. was put in place. The side seams were felted together (for the technique. so the suds inside penetrates through the dry outer layer. The decoration was applied as the top layer. I % . one that was basted between pieces of screening. felting is a good technique for creating three-dimensional forms. The small polkadotted case is made from a beginner's first test sample. If no moisture comes through the wool. The fringe was felted in. 54 Divide the wool into strips. Continue the process of wrapping wlth wool. The bag at bottom left is a piece folded in thirds. squeezing. of New Zealand wool.Now put the wad In the palm of one hand. then lined. Then hold the wet tuft between your thumb and index fincler and wrap dry wool around it twice. Marblesare one example. each long enough to surround the ball. Cover a table with plastic and have a small bowl of hot soapy water ready.-pinch it firmly. The bird also was sewn on by machine. Other Applications warbles. Just a few more minutes' effort Wlll make the wad f~rmer. Turn the tufta quarterturn and squeeze agaln. . Machine stitching on felt produces an odd relief effect. wlth your flngers or wlth a small Iron comb Hold a strrp of wool In one hand and wrap it twice around the Index and m ~ d dle f~naers the other hand Remove the of wrap irom the fingers and dip it briefly into soapy water. If YOU want to make more marbles at this time. and carded or uncarded wool Sllver IS best dlvlded f~rst Into strlps of about 20cm The same appl~es wool that has been carded on the to drum carder (see chapter II) If you are using carded rolag you can pull out thln pleces of the length you need Uncarded wool must be loosened well at the t~ps. Toward the end of the process put them on the table and flatten 1 I 53 A ball can be made by felting around a "real"bal1. You can use any klnd of wool scraps of dlfferent colors. as described in chapter Ill. see the instructions for hats). Do not let this dlscourage you. Making them is a pleasant and relaxing task. too. and rinse them all at once. Squeeze it out well. The little bag at top right in the photo is a felted rectangle of grey alpaca. It was decorated with machine stitching and ribbon. and one which children love. Beads and Buttons In addition to its practical application for making clothing. and carefully try to roll it lnto a small ball If you are successful. you can put this one aside until the others are ready. turning.
or in a washing machine. 59 you see an Indian. After the final sprinkling with suds compress the entire surface of the ball between your hands (fig. in the center. The wool will soon begin to shrink and the outer ball will fit around the inner one like a second skin. too. 54). You can carefully round off the lower edge of the cut with scissors to get . After about fifteen minutes the wool will fit around the ball like a second skin. With your index and middle fingers. 53). If you calmly continue felting. For the ears. . Because the wool fiber will expand at first. . It is more effective to use carded sliver. For this procedure. sprinkle. Another way to make a ball is by felting over a tennis ball or a rubber ball (fig. 57). After some practice it becomes easier to predetermine your results. If necessary. Put the point of the scissors straight into cm above the midway the felt. if you wish (fig. To get the desired skin color. You can add some decoration to the top layer. .them with your hand. use more soap suds during the rubbing. once vou have made a few marbles. With this method it is best to work in a dishpan or atthe sinkso you can dispose of the excess water easily. With your middle and index fingers rub the upper side of the cut (the eyebrow) to the front. dye tests were done and many different carding mixtures were tried. Sprinkle the wool until it is well moistened (fig. The gnome in the photo is the result of much experimentation. Divide the wool into strips. then turn the ball a . it will seem that you have worked too loosely. 58 Be patient. little. The first head is usually one of which you will say "It is supposed to be a. 55). Makethe cut about1/2cm deep and 2cm in length (for a head no larger than a tennis ball). It is just a matter of making marbles that are bigger around. Shaped this way theycan beusedasbeadsorasbuttons (color plate 6). each long enough to surround the ball (fig. even with the tops of the ears. You can full a felted ball with your hands on a washboard. AS the ball becomes larger it is no longer necessary to work with strips of wool. make two small vertical cuts on opposite sides of the ball." The first arms and legs you make will probably need some adjustment. and repeat a third time if necessary. In fig. His head iscutfrom a felt ball and his hands are cut from two halves of a ball. The first time you make a doll's head it will be difficult to predetermine how it will look. Dolls and Mice With just a few snips of the scissors a felt ball can become a doll's head. and perhaps rub the surface in small circles (always in the same direction). the wool will start to shrink (fig. Make the wool layer about 1 cm thick. The best time to start cutting the doll's features (see the cutting diagram. which will make the ball easier to shape. . Start bv wrapping once. To make eyes-or rather orbits-make two horizontal cuts about l % c m wide and 1cm deep on the front. Now hold the head in one hand and push in the underside of the cut with the thumb of your other hand. about I point. Use more soapy water if necessary. 56). Then at each step you can cover the entire surface with dry wool. Wrap the whole ball again. page 65) is after the ball has become firm but before the soap has been rinsed out. see the instructions for dolls and mice. but that is not the case. and so on. Take the head between your hands and with yourthumbs push in the cut on the front side. 56 A polka dot design was applied to the top layer. -+hen makng balls by the same method will not give you any problem. wrap again. 58). i 57 Hold the ball between your hands and compress the wool over the entire surface. ~ Balls I 55 Sprinkle the wool untilit is wellmoistened. rub the back side of the cut toward the front.
Shape the head further by using sculpting motions and more hot soapy water. into which two fingers just fit. The gnome is felted in the washing machine. The mice are cut from one piece af feif. A hole was cut in the underside of the head. 59 The Indian's head and hands are cut from a felt ball.60 Cutting diagrams for faces and hands. with the head fastened directly to the coat front. His little coat is fitted to each wrist. So the Indian is a puppet! . The Indian in the picture wears braids of unspun flax.
. They were attributed with rnagicpowers.61 Dolls like these were always foundin nornads'tents.
Tie a knot above each ball. Freestyle Felting and Stiffened Felt A few examples of freestyle work with felt and hardened felt are discussed below: a hollow and/or a rounded form and a folded form. Sew through thestocking with large basting stitches to keep the arms separated. The rounded form was felted around a rubber ball. . Athin stick. In color plate 8 are four hardened felt forms. All the limbs will fit together in one leg of a stocking. and the shrinkage rate is unimportant. Copy the patterns on transparent plastic. is useful for forming arms and legs. for example. Work withoutsuds. You can let your imagination guide you (fig. 66). With four cuts you suggest a thumb and fingers. Shrinkage is the greatest. pour boiling water over it before it goes into the washing machine to start the shrinking process. It must be wound rather tightly. the cut lines are equidistant and even in length (fig. 62 For a doll's arms and legs. and before the soap is rinsed out. After finishing a ball. can be felted in a washing machine. 64). a pencil. 63 you can see how the doll will emerge from the washer. Because every washer is different. Put the legs into the stocking in the same way. With colored wool you cannot use soap or detergent that contains bleach. The rounded side becomes the back of the hand. and a bit thinner. 61 you see an example of dolls from the Nomadic period. The wool must be basted tightly between pieces of screening (see chapter II). as close to it as possible. In fig. At this point facial features can be cut into the head as described previously. wool is pulled into strips and wound tightly around wooden skewers. then cut (fig. are put into the stocking nextto one another. Felting in a Washing Machine A washing machine can be used as a fast felter. The mice in fig. The disadvantage is that it is just about impossible to control the felting process. The other hand is cut in mirror image. and put them together. it is best to use a somewhat thicker stick. 59 are easily made from a piece of felt. In fig. The body requires about three times the amount of wool as does an arm or a leg. Knot the stocking close to them. Use ones without runs. That is a matter of preference. When you make the doll's body. otherwise too much shrinkage will occur. Just when the wool begins to fit as tightly as a skin around the ball. such as a wooden skewer. start at a central point and cut a few lines with scissors. of course. cut them out of felt. When the stocking is filled. In fig. for runs will cause the felt to be lumpy. meant to be enjoyed. On the ball shown in the photo. Cut off the panty part and thefeet. it is always best to make samples at different water temperature settings. They are simply decorative forms. with hot water. and the least with a water temperature of 68-86OF (2030°C). after they are pushed off the stick. 62 you can see that the arms. Many different kinds of dolls and animals can be made in this manner. Dolls. Cut the thumbs a little thicker than the fingers. 65). and knot one end.The rounded hands are made from a ball cut in half. The washing machine is especially handy when you want to make. Wind colored strips of wool tightly around the sticks. Prepare the wool as for forming balls. These two dolls were simple shapes cut from a single layer of thick felt. You will need an old pair of panty hose or stockings. Dolls like these were found in every tent. put it in the stocking. and were attributed with magic powers. for example. butsimply keep winding dry wool. a whole series of balls. too. Make the arms a bit shorter than the legs. With hot suds you can rub the hands into the desired shape.
65 The ball will be removed to make a free form. . Two lines of equal length were cut. 67 The cut edges are fulled once again before the ball is removed.
The glue will be totally rbed into the wool.en the water in the bottom pan begins boil. The borders were worked from the inside outward with a small steel brush. 68). 69 The ball is submerged in the glue. Or simply let them inspire you. Replace the felt nd the ball to make a continuous d form. Put the glue in the top of a double boiler or other small pan and add to it three times the wool weight in water. Then the ball can be removed. 64 through 66 is a square folded form. and the t the pan of glue on the counter and felt in it (fig. turn the heat to low. if you wish. This caused them to curl somewhat. a natural product. and placed on the plastic-covered counter with the colored side down. After the lines are cut. The procedure is simple and the glue is pleasantto work with. and the hollow. You can. 70). Heat the mixture over a pan of water (fig. The mixture II look cloudy now. For a globe form made with 20 grams of wool. The four corners were folded to the center one at a time. is used as a stiffener. but are not discussed here. It was made from a piece of white felt with a colored top layer. 67). 71). At the left in figs. Bone glue. try to duplicate these two shapes." The inspiration for ation of these capes came from inating history of feltmaking. so the white inside layer became If you like the idea of molding stiffened forms like these. Stir it with a wooden n until it becomes syrupy. . 69). the glue can bewashed off your hands with water and soap. weigh out 1Ograms of bone glue. 68 Bone glue is warmed in a double boiler or over a pan of hot water. Then remove the ball again and let the globe dry. the cuts are sprinkled with hot suds and fulled once again (fig. rounded form can be rinsed. his only shelter during bad weather (fig. Other methods of stiffening are available. from the time when the shepherd's cape was also a portable tent. roughen surface of the felt with a small firm brush (fig. [ 70 Use a stiff brush to rougnen tne surface. This piece was felted and glued. That was the idea behind the intention of the four forms in the series "My s My Castle. Afterward. and e it again. squeeze it out. Press the into the liquid.
We also studied their methods. . they made all the feltthey needed for daily living. Group Feltmaking Felting a Blanket the Old Nomadic Way With a group of pupils who understood the basic technique well. In the brim down over his turned the hat so that sunshade. who built hisark just before the flood. Next we thought about the nomads. -. - . 74 . We decided to follow the old ways of working as closely as we could. His hat is made in such a way that summer and in winter. According to tradition he covered the deck with loose sheep's wool before he let the animals inside. We thought about Noah.- 72 The clouds are finished and the waves have their turn. a plan was conceived to felt something big. In groups of men or of women.. - + * -. We gave up working 71 The shepherd's cape was also a portable tent.z 4 .. a shelter during bad weather. After forty days the ark had a wall-to-wall carpet of felt.VI.. -.
we filled in the background.73 Work sessions were very intense. 74). We let the dice decide which person's project we would work on. 77). on the floor. 76). page 33). The chosen one provided his own design. we started with wetting and soaping the matting. The person who volunteered to work in the center had a very difficult time because of the limited amount of C Color plate 7 The felting process m full swing. Next the white wool was sprinkled. The felting took one to two days. and rugs for tables or for the floor. The waves were checked once again for shape. 78). The reverse side was patterned with . the function and the colors. space for movement (fig. The blanket described on these pages has a cloud and wave border design. with about ten people working at it. an age-old theme (fig. The reverse side also was designed in accordance with nomadic tradition. Many pieces of rush matting were sewed together and the design sketched on it with waterproof pen. and the blanket with the rosette (color plate 1. Two layers of white wool were put in place. 72 the cloud pattern is finished and we are at work on the wave design. 34. Then each felter received a portion of wool and started to put it in place. It is also shown on the cover of this book. blankets to hang on walls or to cover beds. pushing the waves into position with the help of a little soap and water (see also color picture 7a). The morning the project began. then pulled into strips. with a simple pattern of circles on a white background. even motion (fig. the size. also of New Zealand wool. They could differ from one another as long as they expressed a nice. and these layers were sprinkled. The close-up photo shows plainly how the wool was pulled out (fig. In fig. ' . 74 Fulling the background with New Zealand wool which had not been presoaked with soapy water. the frontispiece). Our other group projects include the wall hanging with the fans pictured on page 6. white covering of fiber (color plate 7d). In place of desert sand or a marble floor we chose a large table as work site. and the whole group helped him determine the technique. Fig. The person for whom the blanket was felted prepared the wool forfelting. The second and third layers were placed with the fibers going in different directions (which can be seen in fig. We wanted to make blankets. Slowly the clouds and waves of the design disappeared under a thick. 73 shows how hard everyone is concentrating. This wool was not presoaked with suds (fig. The photo sequence shows the felting of a blanket. After the pattern was put down. Then everyone backed away to give the piece a critical look from a distance (color plate 7c). 75). Color plate 7b shows that she was successful. dyed with plant dyes in shades of pink and green. In this case New Zealand wool was used.
it was pressed completely.clearly st . with a cloth dipped in vinegar water.circles and was given a wide. to make the felt somewhatfirmer. When the entire blanket had been treated. then more firmly.~lled out.. Only after the completed blanket was laid flat on a table could the screen be removed. a little at a time. . After afew hours of walking the blanket was firm enough to be taken home. Now the blanket was felted. we walked all over it with our boots on. After much rhythmical move. 75 A .. green border.. and that always makes us look to the next one with great anticipation. When the blanket was dry. Then the air was pressed out of the wool (fig. I 76 The person in the center had little freedom of movement. it was rolled in rush matting (fig. . 82). Slowly but surely the wool became a firm piece of fabric.. very gently at first. 83). .. turning... . . 77 The shapes could differ from one another as long as they conveyed a continuous sense of motion. and hung over a household ladder to dry... Once again we had made a blanket that was more beautiful than all its predecessors. . It was rinsed under the shower. The felters pushed with wet. 7 m h e s e c m d and the tb&d layers were lajd in d i w e n t directinn$. The creases indicate how the wool fiber had expanded in these moist conditions (fig. The excess suds drained off..c . . .. 81).ment. Considerable sprinkling was done. we finally unrolled the matting to find felt! The next day. 79 you can see how thick the fibers were with all the wool layers in place. The whole blanket was covered with screening. ... In fig. and rolling it again (fig. . and bars of soap were rubbed over the screen. 80). soapy hands. unrolling the blanket.
79 Notice the thickness of tne ~ l a n k ewith all t the layers of wool in place.gEa The creases show how the wool fiber expanded under these moist conditions. sprinkled with soapy water. Then it was rubbed. 81 . from the senes "My Cape is my Ca. 80 The blanket wds covered with screening. Color plate 8 Four forms of hardened felt. and the air pressed out.
82 After the reiring. 83 The b l a n ~ e was rolled r h f l h ~ f ~ . the blanket was rolled in rush matting. 7 I / L : t .
Hampshire The association. AK WlLDE YARNS P. Home Farm Workshop East Tytherley Road Lockerley. and S. 48793 Chilliwack Lake Road 'Sardis. LTD. M. Basel Switzerland Nov. L..Additional Reading Books: Burkett. PA 19127-0662 (215) 482-8800 YARN BARN Box 334 918 Massachusetts Street Lawrence. Royal Ontario Museum. Feltmaking Watson-Guptill Publications New York 1980 Green. The Hungarian Szur Royal Ontario Museum Toronto 1973 Gordon. 33 Pickwick Corsham. and issues a quarterly newsletter. E. July/Aug 1986 . PATRICK GREEN CARDERS. S. BC V2R 2P1 Canada Wool pickers and carding equipment only RIVER FARM Route 1. B. PA 15771 REEK WATER WOOL WORKS THE FIBER STUDIO SHETLAND FLEECES Rosemary Bridgeman. spring 1976. Secretary. Fiberarts. Box 4662.S. Box 23 Rochdale OL11 5JN Fannin. L. V. spring 1980. V. VA 22853 (800) USA-WOOL (703) 896-9931 in VA. Romsey Hampshire SOFl OJT MOORVIEW TEXSTYLES LTD P. winter 1979. The Art of the Feltmaker Abbot Hall Art Gallery Kendal. Toronto 1977 Michaud. KS 66044 (800) 468-0035 (913) 842-4333 in KS Articles: Ciba Review 129 Felt. Dorset LITTLE LONDON SPINNERS Unit 8. Caravans to Tartary Viking Press New York 1978 ochester Mills. South Yorkshire YARNCRAFT Three Ply House 57A Lant Street London SE1 1QN Readers may be interested in contacting The Feltmakers' Association Ewa Kuniczak-Coles. R. st of them will send samples for a England FIBRECRAFT STYLE COTTAGE Lower Eashing Godalming. 3737 Main Street Philadelphia. Notes on Feltmaking and the Production of Other Textiles at Seh Gabi. Gervers. Spindle and Dyepot. Hayling Island. a Kurdish Village from: Studies in Textile History. Surrey GU7 2QD FRANK HERRING High Street Dorchester. Box 401 Timberville.B.G. Colorado 1978 Levine. was founded in 1985. ClBA Ltd. Gibson Street Bradford BD3 9TT WINGHAM WOOLWORKS Old Building Yard Rotherham. Wiltshire ADELAIDE WALKER Regina Mills. D. A. Feltmaking for the Fiber Artist Greentree Ranch Wools Loveland.O. 1958 & % Shuttle. Cumbria 1979 ing Supplies The suppliers listed here offer a variety itable for feltmaking. Handspinning Van Nostrand Reinhold New York 1970 Gervers. Secretary 5 Harold Rd.O.
71: 'The Quashqa' i of IranWorld of Islam Festival 1976 Whitworth Art Gallery. 87 Fig. M. M. Figs. 4) from her own book (see bibliography). Credits for the Drawings of Ger Daniels Fig. 52 bottom left. 36 Fig. lneke Hoekstra: fig. Pazyryk I. University of Manchester Photo picture 16: Sheperd Photography: Peter Wallum . 47 bottom left. 37. and to the students who spent their own time photographing the different processes: Willem Evers. 6 6a: Karutz-Die Vol ker . Murillo Ket. 48 center right. Maaike van Huizen: fig. B. 2 bottom right. Pazyryk 5e-6e eeuw v. Trudy instituta etnografii N. and center. 48 top. color plate 5b bottom. 6b: Caravans to Tartary-R. 31 top center. Frans Kessler: fig. Also a special thank-you to Peter Andrews for the prevention of an error that was made many times. Barbel Wolf: fig. who read the text critically. They are as follows: Lenie van Amstel: figs. Altay-Pazyryk Fig. 5 Atlantis-Heft. Chr. Jettmar Methuen-London 1967 F. Chr. color plate 6. Nels Wierda: fig. 36. Muhammad Shadiyabad i. Vilten KirgieZen tent with felt entrance. Ans Roeland: fig. P.I. Altay. 47 slippers. Gre Schrijver: fig. H. Anneke Mantje. Nels Wierda and Barbel Wolf. to Mary Burkett. juli 1929. Special thanks go to Wyke Evers. 48 center left. Ivanov-Materialy po izobkazitel. Canada 1977 The Rise and Spread of Old World Cotton -A. 40 bottom. 2b. Ans Brandhof: figs. Paula Moison: fig. Work not otherwise credited is by the author. center and upper left pieces in color plate 3. Asiens Fig. Bd Leningrad 1954 2a: page 324. 40 center. 33b: see fig. 47 center. 34: see fig. 21: Color photo (detail) Kirgiezen Afganistan. 31 top right. Watson "Carding the raw cotton with a bow" illustration in a Persian manuscript 'Muftah al-Fuzala' by Muhammad 6. Anneke Bonestroo: fig. and S. Michaud. 35 bottom. Annie Tukker: fig. 38. 3b Pictures 34. Paula Moison. Anneke Mantje: figs. 43 right. let Hocker: fig. Chene-Paris 1977 Fig. 2c:Mikhail Gryzanov-Siberiedu Sud Nagel-Geneve 1969 2b: page 132 Petit tapis de selle. probably late 15th century. Murillo Ket: fig. in the seventies Picture 8: Studies in textile historyVeronika Gevers Rom. 47 top left. 47 top right. Oriental manuscripts OR 3299 London Fig. Toronto. Hennie van Liemt: fig. who allowed us to use the cover photograph (fig. fig. 1964 Baden-Baden. Marjolein Folmer and Hennie van Liemt. U. 47 top right. Fig. 47 bottom. : Page 420 Photo: W. Nomu iskusstvu naropov sibiri XIX Nacala Ilv. 43 left. 52 top left. picture 86. 39. 47 bottom. Elly Leemshuis: frontispiece. color plate 3 bottom left and right. Picture 100:Appliqued felt swan intended as decoration for a funeral wagon.Credits Most of the works shown in this book were made by students of lnge Evers. 35 top. H. Fig. color plate 10. 3 Art of the World : Art of the Steppes-K. British Library. 2d: S. to Peter Collingwood for supplying literature and other information and to the Stichting J. fig. 51 right. 2a Page 644.S. Elly Leemhuis. 2a. Da'us 6. 35. 2b Picture 117. V. 2d: page 330 Fig. Bossard Chinees Turkestan 1929. 30 top right. 61: Rolf Gilsberg-Den fenerhaeggede en mongolisk Shaman Pose med filtdukker Fig. 31 top left. 118: Chabraque laine. 33a: see fig. 5e-6e eeuw v. Ad Westen: fig. 2c:page 119 Reconstruction d'ornement de harnais Altay. Holle Verslag G. in Haarlem for allowing us the use of a classroom for photography.
sturdy boots and slipper ugs and decorative items fo ovs and dolls for children. warm clothing and hats. and dyeing the wool to embellishing finished felt bieces. novice can achie m Iere are clearly illustrated instructions for making felt at home. ipecial chapters tell how to organize group feltmaking projects.lenty of inspiration at the same time. and even how to make felt "sculpture. From electing. the author guides you through the entire process. preparing. . and offers . how t ' each feltmaking to children.reate beautiful.
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